Writing for Vice earlier this week, Natasha Lennard argued that, while newsworthy, the People’s Climate March should not earn the title of historic: “Taken in isolation, mass marches — even when truly massive — do not history make.” Lennard’s analysis is exactly right, but it doesn’t apply to this past weekend’s events.
Combined, the People’s Climate March on Sunday followed by Flood Wall Street the next day, uplifted a narrative around climate change that was impossible for even the most mainstream of media to ignore. In the words of Fox News talking head James Carville, “It’s the economy, stupid.”
Try as they might, journalists struggled to find a story that fit comfortably into a so-called “mainstream” environmentalist framework — that is, one friendlier to market-based solutions than it traditionally has been to black, brown, working class and otherwise marginalized communities that fall within the “sacrifice zones” of an extractive economy. Sunday’s 300-foot long banner emblazoned with the words “Capitalism = Climate Chaos” didn’t hurt, either.